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Readings 1

Page history last edited by fran toomey 13 years, 7 months ago

Selection A                          Ready for High Speed


       The track at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway is 2-1/2 miles long.  At speeds of about 250 miles per hour, you can whip around the track in about 38 seconds.  You make a left turn, then drive a short straight stretch. After another left turn, there's another straight run; then you must turn left again.  The track is packed with other cars.  At any moment, a car could cut in front of you and crash into the wall.  Or you could crash.  You make another left turn and go into the straight! Then you do it all again--199 more times--as fast as you can push your car.  Auto racing may be the most exciting sport in the world. 

Do you think so? 


       Nerve.  What kind of a person do you have to be to drive a race car?  One thing you need is nerve--and plenty of it.   At 250 miles per hour, a crash is never more than a split second away.  You're driving a car that's being pushed to the limit.  The engine is turning 10,000 times per minute, hour after hour.  Most cars used for street driving would blow up if pushed past 7,000 turns per minute.  The wheels, the clutch, or any part of the car could let go at any moment.  But you stay composed and dive into the next turn.

Other things take nerve too.  Suggest two: 


                Heart Rate.  The human heart beats about 75 times per minute.  During a race, a driver's heartbeat quickly increases to 160, even 180!  In races like the Grand Prix, a driver's heart hammers at 180 beats per minute--nonstop for two hours. 

                Most people would feel completely exhausted. But you can't rest during a race.  Race car drivers have to train their bodies.  Formula 1 drivers' average heart rate while resting is down to about 63 beats per minute.  Their bodies also make better use of the oxygen they breathe.  This means that even at their high heart rate during a race, drivers still have energy left at the end of the race.  And they may need it if their cars' steering starts to wear out. 

Have you ever calculated your heart rate?  When and why? 


               Strong Bodies. Drivers also have to be in good shape.  Body fat takes blood away from the brain and muscles.  It also keeps the body warm.  In a hot race car, an overweight person would feel too warm.  Race car drivers also need to have flexible bodies.  It is less likely that they will hurt in a crash if their bodies can bend.

                Eyesight.  Good eyes are another "must."  Drivers have to see things that are far away and be able to quickly judge how far away they are.  They also have to see close-up things, like the oil gauge.  Drivers also must be able to see things clearly out of the corners of their eyes.  Drivers need this kind of vision to see, for example, a wheel come off the car to the right.

                  Reaction Time.  Seeing objects ahead of time isn't enough.  A driver has to decide what to do about what he or she sees--and do it--in an instant.  How fast a person can act is called reaction time.  Anyone who drives a car needs good reaction time, but in a race, a driver has to think much faster.  Even 1/100 of a second can make a huge difference.  At 200 miles per hour that split second equals a whole car length!

Where else do you need good eyesight and reaction time? 


                A driver can test his or her reaction time on a machine.  On the machine, eight buttons are set into a desktop shaped in a half circle.  The driver has to hit the buttons that light up, one after the other.  The buttons are wired to a computer, which measures the driver's reaction time.  Indianapolis 500 drivers are very quick.  Formula 1 drivers, who must race on turning twisting roads, are even quicker. 

                Good AttitudeOne more thing that race car drivers need is a good attitude.  They have to go into races with the idea that they're going to win.  Some drivers do this by thinking back to times they have felt the best, the most ready, and the most confident.  They set their minds to feel the same way again.  They take time before a race to get their minds ready for racing.

Good attitude is also important when...... 


                Success.  When you think about it, these sound like good tips for succeeding at just about anything.  Stay calm.  Concentrate.  Think fast.  Keep an eye on everything that's happening around you.  Keep your body in good shape.  And whatever you do, keep a good attitude.  With all this going for you, how can you loose?


Write a Summary on your Personal Page. 


Go to Selection B 


Fry Middle Level Reading Drills (Modified) , Copyright Permission for S.P.O.K.E.S. Teacher’s Manual



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